Texas A&M started the 2016 season 6-0 beating FBS opponents with a combined overall record of 34-30 (one win vs. Praire View 7-4 overall not included) or .531%. However, after their hot start, the Aggies lost five of seven games down the stretch to opponents with a combined overall record of 42-33 or .646%.
Texas A&M was outscored by a total score of 184-137 in their five losses in 2016 with four of the five defeats coming to conference opponents.
UCLA lost to Texas A&M week one of 2016 in College Station by an overtime score of 31-24. UCLA trailed 17-3 late in the fourth before tying the score to send the game into the overtime. The Bruins were 4-8 in 2016 and were outscored by a total margin of 250-157 or 11.6 points per game in their eight defeats.
The Aggies averaged 34 points per game in 2016 and were a balanced offense rushing for 211 yards per game on the ground along with passing for 255 yards per game through the air. Senior quarterback Trevor Knight brought stability back to the position that was vacated by former signal callers Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray.
Knight completed 53% of his passes for 2,432 yards with 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He showed great poise in leading the offense to an undefeated 6-0 record to start the year and led overtime wins against UCLA and Tennessee both in College Station.
Texas A&M was a very balanced offense early on in the season and was running the football very well in the team’s first eight games of 2016. The Aggies averaged 249 rushing yards per game and had a 7-1 overall record.
During that run, the offense rushed for over 200 yards in every game but one-the road loss to Alabama (114 rushing yards).
UCLA- 203 rushing yards (WIN)
Prairie View-277 rushing yards (WIN)
Auburn-231 rushing yards (WIN)
Arkansas-366 rushing yards (WIN)
South Carolina-216 rushing yards (WIN)
Tennessee-353 rushing yards (WIN)
However, in the team’s last five games of the year, the lack of consistency in the running game was very evident. During that span in which the Aggies were 1-4 overall, the offense averaged 152 rushing yards per game.
117 rushing yards vs. Miss. State (LOSS)
129 rushing yards vs. Ole Miss (LOSS)
183 rushing yards vs. UTSA (WIN)
188 rushing yards vs. LSU (LOSS)
144 rushing yards vs. Kansas State (LOSS)
Texas A&M will lose wide receivers Josh Reynolds and Ricky Seals-Jones to the NFL in 2017. Both players combined for 87 receptions for 1,372 yards with 13 receiving touchdowns. That was 32% of the wide receiver production in 2016.
Texas A&M converted 39% of their third down attempts in 2016 and allowed 21 total sacks as an offensive unit.
Defensively, the Aggies gave up 24 points per game along with 191 rushing yards per game and 250 passing yards per game.
Texas A&M recorded 39 total sacks in 2016. However, with the loss of defensive ends Daeshon Hall (4.5 total sacks) and Myles Garrett (team leading 8.5 total sacks) to the NFL-the Aggies must find a way to rush the passer in 2017.
Texas A&M struggled in stopping the run consistently last year and allowed 264 rushing yards per game in their five losses in 2016.
vs. Alabama-287 rushing yards
vs. Miss St.- 365 rushing yards
vs. Ole Miss-156 rushing yards
vs. LSU -298 rushing yards
vs. Kansas State-218 rushing yards
Texas A&M allowed opposing offenses to convert on 38% of their third down attempts and was -2 in turnover margin in their five losses.
The Bruins averaged 24 points per game and struggled to find offensive balance last year rushing for only 84 yards per game along with passing for 295 yards per game through the air last year.
The lack of balance put a lot of pressure on the offensive line and made the offense one dimensional in big games.
UCLA won football games when they were able to rush for over 100 yards per game. In three of the Bruins four wins in 2016, the offense rushed for more than 100 yards per game.
UNLV-219 rushing yards (WIN)
Arizona-125 rushing yards (WIN)
Oregon State-163 rushing yards (WIN)
However, in the remaining nine games, the Bruins rushed for an average of 56 rushing yards per game:
125 rushing yards vs. Texas A&M
50 rushing yards vs. BYU
77 rushing yards vs. Stanford
-1 rushing yards vs. Arizona State
43 rushing yards vs. Washington State
46 rushing yards vs. Utah
25 rushing yards vs. Colorado
55 rushing yards vs. USC
84 rushing yards vs. CAL
UCLA will need quarterback Josh Rosen to come back healthy in 2017 and live up to expectations as a top flight college quarterback. While some may think Rosen is the real deal, he has not made his teammates around him better and seems to lack focus in critical situations on the football field.
Rosen completed 59% of his passes in 2016 for 1,915 with 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He battled injuries all season long and will need to bounce back in 2017 to his 2015 freshman season when he threw 23 touchdowns.
The offensive line allowed 24 total sacks as an offensive unit with the offense converting 35% of their third down opportunities.
Defensively, the Bruins allowed 27 points per game and were porous against the run giving up 171 rushing yards to opposing offenses along with 210 passing yards per game through the air last year.
UCLA ended the 2016 season -2 in turnover margin and recorded 25 total sacks last year.
In five of the team’s eight losses last year the defense gave up 245 rushing yards per game:
Texas A&M- 203 rushing yards (LOSS)
Stanford-207 rushing yards (LOSS)
Utah-365 rushing yards (LOSS)
USC-260 rushing yards (LOSS)
CAL-196 rushing yards (LOSS)
UCLA was solid in third down defense in 2016 holding opposing offenses to 35% of their attempts.